How long you cook meatloaf depends on the size of the loaf and the type of protein you use. There are different cooking temperatures for meats like pork, beef, and lamb, and poultry like chicken, turkey, or duck.
A traditional meatloaf contains a combination of 2 parts of ground beef to 1 part of ground veal and 1 part of ground pork. Regardless of oven type, you will need to cook the meatloaf recipe until the internal temperature reaches 160°F using a digital meat thermometer. However, use this time and temperature guideline for any combination of ground meats (not poultry) that includes beef, lamb, veal, and pork.
You will need to cook the loaf at 350°F in a conventional oven. Different sizes will require different cooking times, but a good rule of thumb is 35 to 45 minutes per pound. Cooking times will vary due to variations in oven temperature.
- Muffin tin meatloaves (standard muffin tin) take about 20 to 30 minutes. Begin taking the temperature at 20 minutes.
- Mini meatloaves take 30 to 40 minutes. Begin taking the temperature at 30 minutes.
- 1 pound will take 35 minutes to 45 minutes. Begin taking the temperature at 35 minutes.
- 2 pounds will take 55 minutes to an hour and ten minutes. Begin taking the temperature at 55 minutes.
- 3 pounds will take about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Begin taking the temperature at 90 minutes.
Convection ovens speed cooking times by circulating the heat in the oven with a fan, making the oven temperature more even throughout. The rule of thumb with a convection oven is to reduce temperature by 25°F and cooking time by 25 percent. Therefore, in a convection oven, you can cook your meatloaf at 325°F and the cooking times will change as follows:
- Muffin tin meatloaves take from 17 to 30 minutes. Begin checking at 17 minutes.
- Mini meatloaves (8 to 9 ounces) take from 22 to 34 minutes. Begin checking at 22 minutes.
- 1-pound meatloaves take between 26 and 42 minutes. Begin checking at 26 minutes.
- 2-pound meatloaves take between 41 and 53 minutes. Start checking temp at 41 minutes.
Meatloaf containing ground turkey, ground duck, or ground chicken needs to be cooked to 165°F. So if a meatloaf contains a combination of ground meat (such as beef) and ground poultry (such as turkey), you need to cook to the higher temperature in order to make the poultry safe to eat. The cooking temperature remains 350°F for a conventional oven and 325°F for a convection oven, and cooking times will be as follows. Begin checking temperature at the shortest time until it reaches 165°F.
- Muffin tin meatloaves will take 25 to 35 minutes in a conventional oven and 20 to 27 minutes in a convection oven.
- Mini meatloaves (8 to 9 ounces) will take 35 to 45 minutes in a conventional oven and 26 to 34 minutes in a convection oven.
- 1-pound meatloaves take between 50 minutes and an hour in a conventional oven and between 37 and 45 minutes in a convection oven.
- 2-pound meatloaves take between one hour and 75 minutes in a conventional oven and between 45 and 57 minutes in a convection oven.
As with any other food you cook in a slow cooker, you can cook a meatloaf on low for about 8 hours or on high for about four. Don't forget to double check the temperature to make sure it has reached the appropriate temperature.
Give It a Rest
One of the keys to a juicy meatloaf is to allow it to rest after cooking. This allows the juices to absorb into the meat and allows the texture to firm slightly so the loaf is easier to slice. Therefore, to calculate your cooking time you'll also need to add in resting time, which is 10 to 15 minutes. To keep the meatloaf warm, you can loosely tent it with foil as it rests. The meat will also rise a few degrees in temperature (between about 2 and 5°F) as it rests.